Enter the world of Trace: an interdisciplinary performance about the voice in transition.
Co-created by Tristan R Whiston and Moynan King, Trace is a sound-based performance that explores representation and identity as embodied processes, and focuses on the ongoing nature of queer being and becoming.
Trace began with audio recordings captured throughout Tristan’s gender transition – a transition that was notably marked by his unique vocal transition from soprano to tenor. In Trace, fragments of these recordings are edited to create an original 10-track score that is sometimes experimental and ethereal, sometimes melodic and nostalgic, and culminates with Tristan singing live with a multi-part harmony with himself across time.
Development of Trace began in 2012 with a workshop production (presented by FADO Performance Art Centre and New Adventures in Sound Art) that resulted in a 2015 Trans-Canada touring production presented in Whitehorse, Yellowknife (Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre), Dawson City (Klondike Institute of Art and Culture), Regina (Queer City Cinema) and Montreal (Studio 303). It toured as an interactive and immersive performance staged in a gallery setting. Audience moved amongst the 10-speakers and recorded their own voices in response to prompts which were integrated into the performance.
In April 2023, Trace closed Theatre Passe Muraille’s 2022/2023 season.
The ongoing development and re-imagined iteration of Trace over an extended period of time seeks to honour the fundamental premise of the work in a protracted engagement with the ways that we (as artists; as queers; as bodies; as communities) are always becoming and forever in conversation with our past selves.
In this latest iteration, archival footage of the 1990’s cabaret act The Boychoir of Lesbos, created by Tristan and co-realized by Moynan, is edited and integrated into the new work. This archival element is an early tangible example of the ways that performance can extend and realize gender identification using the voice as a key method of doing so. Trace also gestures toward a queer future with the integration of a newly realized choir: The Epic Choir of Traceland, created specifically for this new iteration of Trace, is proudly composed of trans, non-binary, & gender-queer singers. This choir is a contemporary re-imagination of The Boychoir of Lesbos, created by Tristan and co-realized by Moynan, that performed in Toronto and beyond for over ten years. As a reimagined entity, The Epic Choir of Traceland reflects the ever changing nature of queer community, identity, and belonging, while continuing to sing like angels!
We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, without which this production would not have been possible